Category: Outlaw: The Story of Joe Flick

Bringing Australia's History to Life

Created with Sketch.

1. The Mother of an Outlaw

In 1934 I applied to the School of Anthropology, Sydney University, to undertake field research for my doctoral thesis. A cousin of my father’s was a member of the Waitara branch of the Christian Brethren, and through them I was invited to ‘visit and assist’ at Doomadgee Mission, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. While there…
Read more

2. The Brook Hotel

At the Mission; that island in the clay and salt of the wild Gulf shore, came days of building heat, followed by thunderstorms such as I had never dreamed possible. Raking winds and black thunderheads roving ahead of a packed, boiling cloud mass, spitting lightning over a shallow sea churned to a furious white. Years…
Read more

3. The ‘Shooting’ of Cashman

Cashman’s boy saw Joe coming, and rose to his full height, brandishing the knife. ‘You been lookout for trouble with me?’ he asked. Yet he hadn’t reckoned on the way Joe covered the ground between them, scarcely having time to raise his guard before copping a right-cross flush to his jaw. Joe was not a…
Read more

4. Hasenkamp

Work at the Doomadgee Mission continued, despite rain and humid heat. Through it all, Len Akehurst toiled from before dawn to long after dusk, assisting with building works, teaching lessons, carrying water, performing the occasional baptism and preaching at prayer meetings. He had, during his training, completed a course in basic dentistry, and ringers from…
Read more

5. Escape from Normanton

Hasenkamp and his men shackled Joe with iron chains, and escorted him 130 miles to Normanton, a five-day ordeal on horseback. There had been some late rain, and the black soil country was hard going in the mud. By the time they reached the town’s neatly surveyed streets, laid out on the western bank of…
Read more

Joe Flick: Chapter 1-5 Catch-up PDF

If you’ve missed some chapters or you’ve been meaning to catch up on the story so far, here it is in PDF format. Then you’ll be ready for the next chapter, which will be posted on Sunday afternoon. You can either download the PDF by clicking here or read it below.

6. Magoura

Being interested in the original people of the Gulf and their culture, I often stopped to talk to an old man called Charlie after my meetings with Kitty. He was a wiry fellow, knotted like old rope, with a sharp mind and encyclopedic knowledge of that strip of coast. Somehow, after a few of these…
Read more

7. Hunted

The feeling of being hunted … Of every rocky outcrop hiding an ambush. Every traveller an informer. Trackers poring over every impression of hoof and boot; reading the sign each time Joe dismounted to eat or brew tea. Joe directed his mount along shallow stony creek beds, walking both horses backwards up the banks several…
Read more

8. Wounded

Kitty told me how her son Joe rode to the west in the wild upper Nicholson country, through a river gorge intersected with knife blades of red stone, ancient cycads and calm, clear pools rich with turtle and fish. She told me about Wanggala – the age of creation – when the river was formed;…
Read more

9. Hodgson Downs

Again the monsoon retreated, and apart from storms bustling out from the horizon in the evening, the weather was better. I had my first touch of Gulf fever, but Dorothy Akehurst’s store of quinine kept it at bay, and I remained on my feet, most of the time. I fished for barramundi in the creek,…
Read more

10. Under Arrest

Mounted Constable Robert Stott of Roper Bar, Kitty told me, was something of an enigma. A man who would one day go on to become Central Australia’s first Police Commissioner, he was maligned by some, and lionised by others. On his police record were awards for courage, yet he was once fined for brutally striking…
Read more